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Open Access Research

Nut consumption and risk of atrial fibrillation in the Physicians' Health Study

O Khawaja12*, JM Gaziano1234 and L Djousse124

Author affiliations

1 Divisions of Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

2 Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology and Research Information Center (MAVERIC), Boston Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, Boston, MA, USA

3 Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

4 Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC), Boston Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, Boston, MA, USA

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Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:17  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-17

Published: 21 March 2012

Abstract

Background

Atrial Fibrillation is highly prevalent in clinical practice affecting approximately 2.3 million people in USA and 4.5 million people in European Union. The aim of the study was to examine the association between nut consumption and incident atrial fibrillation.

Methods

Prospective cohort of 21,054 male participants of Physicians' Health Study I. Nut consumption was estimated using food frequency questionnaire and incident atrial fibrillation was ascertained through yearly follow-up questionnaires. Cox regression was used to estimate relative risks of atrial fibrillation.

Results

The average age was 54.6 ± 9.5 years (40.7-87.1). During a mean follow up of 20 years (median 24 years), 3,317 cases of atrial fibrillation occurred. The crude incidence rate was 7.6, 7.4, 8.2, 7.9, and 6.8 cases/1000 person-years for people reporting nut consumption of rarely/never, 1-3/month, 1/per week, 2-6/week, and ≥ 7/week, respectively. Multivariable adjusted hazard ratios (95% CI) for incident atrial fibrillation were 1.00 (ref), 1.00 (0.90-1.11), 1.09 (0.97-1.21), 1.07 (0.95-1.21), and 0.91 (0.70-1.17) for nut consumption from the lowest to the highest category of nut consumption (p for trend 0.26). No statistically significant association between nut consumption and atrial fibrillation was found when stratified by body mass index (BMI < 25 vs ≥ 25 kg/m2) or age (< 65 vs. ≥ 65 years).

Conclusions

Our data did not show an association between nut consumption and incident atrial fibrillation among US male physicians.

Keywords:
Nuts; Diet; Atrial fibrillation; Epidemiology; Risk factors